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Black History Month Scholar - Dr. Gina Poe
The Black History Month Scholar Lecture Series is an important event for our community as it exposes the campus to some of the best and brightest scholars, who also happen to be Black. The Black History Month Committee is excited to announce this year’s scholar Dr. Gina Poe who is a neurobiologist at UCLA. Her field is sleep research and she has been published widely.

Dr. Poe waded through 12 stressful and sleepless finals weeks to earn her BA in Human Biology at Stanford University only to find herself underqualified for some jobs and overqualified for others. Thankfully Dr. Poe landed a minimum wage job as a research technician at the VA Sepulveda with Barry Sterman for two years studying test pilot brainwaves before getting arm-twisted to apply to a PhD program in Neuroscience at UCLA. There she was shocked to find that she would be paid to go to school and to discover new things with the wonderful researchers in the laboratory of Ron Harper. Gina and her colleagues tested a new coherent fiber optic imaging system that measured neural activity from subcortical areas and discovered that the emotional circuit limbic structure of the hippocampus becomes highly active in the seconds preceding spontaneous sighs and apneas during sleep - perhaps explaining why people hold their breath in central apneas during sleep. After camping, conferences, earthquakes, a riot, and her dissertation defense, Gina moved to the University of Arizona to work with Carol Barnes on memory problems that sometimes come with aging. She also joined Bruce McNaughton and Jim Knierim to send 4 rats into space on the NASA Neurolab space shuttle mission to test the adaptability of our hippocampal map to the 3D world of weightlessness. Both of those cool projects were ways to pay the bills so she could work on her secret passion project testing whether REM sleep served remembering or forgetting (spoiler alert: both!). Her finding that new memories were strengthened while old, consolidated ones we

Mar 16, 2021 05:30 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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